Tomorrow night is one of the most anticipated MMA fights this year as Brock Lesnar steps into the octagon with a very dangerous challenger, Cain Velasquez, who is looking to become the first Heavyweight Champion in UFC history with Mexican heritage.

If you’re an MMA fan and have been visiting GuysNation regularly, you’ll know that for over a year, I’ve been doing predictions for every fight on every televised UFC card, and UFC 121 is going to be no different.

I encourage you to try your hand at predicting UFC 121 fights as well.  Whether you want to predict one fight or all of them, just leave your predictions as a response to this article down in the comments.

Here we go, good luck!

Preliminary Fights

Don’t get too bogged down or put too much weight into the analysis on the preliminary fights.  I don’t put as much effort there as I do on the higher profile fights.

Heavyweight bout:
United States – Jon Madsen vs. Netherlands – Gilbert Yvel

I like what I’ve seen from Jon Madsen, and I’m not a fan of how Gilbert Yvel conducts himself.  That said, Madsen is 6-0 whereas Yvel has lost 3 of his past 4 fights.  I don’t like the fact that Madsen has taken his last three fights to decision, but at least he won them.

Prediction: Jon Madsen (which spells the end of Yvel in UFC)

Middleweight bout:
United States – Chris Camozzi vs. South Korea – Dong Yi Yang

I really like the combination of Muay Thai, Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that Camozzi brings into the fight.  He has three losses on his record, which might make you think that undefeated Dong Yi Yang holds the advantage there, but Camozzi has yet to be knocked out, which is how DYY gained 8 of his 9 professional victories.  I don’t think this one will go the distance, as I’ve heard Yang has quick hands and good endurance.  Still, I’ll have to go with the more well-rounded fighter with a tough chin.

Prediction: Chris Camozzi (probably by submission)

Lightweight bout:
Canada – Sam Stout vs. England – Paul Taylor

Given that these guys have combined for 7 Fight Of The Night awards in the past 3 years, I’ll go ahead and pencil this in as the Fight Of The Night for UFC 121.  The reason this is on the preliminary card is because Stout and Taylor are a combined 2-5 in those 7 lauded contests.  They both tend to go the distance in their fights, but two of Stout’s last three losses were by split decision, meaning he was closer to winning those fights than Taylor had been in his contests.  I’d love to predict an armbar submission victory  for Stout, but I won’t make that official.

Prediction: Sam Stout

Welterweight bout:
United States – Mike Guymon vs. United States – Daniel Roberts

Roberts might have a record of 10-1, but he has looked shaky since joining UFC, with a loss in his debut and then a split decision win to follow it up.  I do like the fact that he’s training with (Strikeforce Champion) Gilbert Melendez, and so I’ll go out on a limb and say Roberts rebounds due to good training to beat Guymon, who has had a somewhat similar shaky debut in UFC and seems prone to be submitted, which Roberts (an accomplished, world-class student of BJJ) should look to exploit.

Prediction: Daniel Roberts

Preliminary card (Spike TV)

Middleweight bout:
United States – Court McGee vs. United States – Ryan Jensen

Court McGee has the makings to be a very strong contender in the Middleweight division, and this fight will be a great opportunity for him to show what he’s capable of doing, as Ryan Jensen is a talented, seasoned veteran who is certainly not unbeatable (losing 5 of his last 9).  It will all depend on whether winning The Ultimate Fighter will cause McGee to overlook Jensen in this fight, which I don’t predict will happen.

Prediction: Court McGee

Middleweight bout:
Canada – Patrick Côté vs. United States – Tom Lawlor

Both of these guys are coming into this fight on a two-fight losing streak, but there’s a big difference in Patrick Côté’s opponents (Anderson Silva and Alan Belcher) and Tom Lawlor’s opponents (Joe Doerkson and Aaron Simpson).  Patrick Côté was on the fast track before injuries slowed him down a bit.

Prediction: Patrick Côté

Main Pay Per View Card

* Heavyweight bout:
United States – Brendan Schaub vs. Brazil – Gabriel Gonzaga

Although Schaub did get caught by Roy Nelson in the opening round of the finals for The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights, he has been otherwise great at boxing.  Gabriel Gonzaga is a seasoned veteran who also has heavy hands, but Gonzaga also has a history of getting knocked out.  I don’t think any of Gabriel’s submission skills are going to worry Schaub, who holds a purple belt in BJJ.  I don’t mean to say that Brendan Schaub is as good in the octagon as Shane Carwin, Fabricio Werdum or Randy Couture, but Gonzaga has lost a step, and Brendan Schaub has a very real chance to take a big step up the ladder in the UFC Heavyweight division here.

Prediction: Brendan Schaub

* Light Heavyweight bout:
United States – Tito Ortiz vs. United States – Matt Hamill

This is NOT the Tito Ortiz which UFC fans have come to know and love.  He has lost three of his last four fights, and the one he didn’t lose was ruled a draw.  Each of those fights went at least 3 minutes into the third round, with the last three of them ending by decision.  After questionable wins over Keith Jardine (majority decision) and Jon Jones (DQ – illegal elbows), Matt Hamill has the chance to prove that he can win fights against high profile opponents, previously losing to Rich Franklin and Michael Bisping in years past.  Having won two Fight Of The Night honors in his UFC career, there’s no questioning Hamill’s skill.  With Tito Ortiz serving as Matt’s coach on The Ultimate Fighter in 2006, you would also have to think that Matt knows a bit about what Tito is capable of doing.  There’s a reason why Tito Ortiz didn’t fight Chuck Liddell back in June, and it’s the same reason why he has been unsuccessful in his recent forays in the octagon.  Injuries keep Tito from being an elite fighter, and he won’t make his comeback a successful one this weekend.

Prediction: Matt Hamill

* Welterweight bout:
United States – Diego Sanchez vs. Brazil – Paulo Thiago

When I look at Paulo Thiago’s record, I see two losses – one to John Fitch by unanimous decision and another unanimous decision to Martin Kampmann back in June.  Two quality opponents, two close fights.  Diego Sanchez performed really well in the Welterweight division in 2005 and 2006 (also losing to John Fitch during that time frame), then made a switch over to Lightweight where he won Fight Of The Night honors in a bout with Clay Guida which was picked for Fight Of The Year for 2009.  Then after losing to BJ Penn in the 5th round, he follows that up with a unanimous decision loss to the very tough John Hathaway in Diego’s return to welterweight.  I almost flipped a coin to decide this one, but I’ll give my final piece of logic.  It was likely an adjustment for Diego Sanchez to have to return back to Welterweight after trying his hand at being an elite Lightweight fighter.  Knowing that Sanchez would likely be on a three-fight losing streak if he wasn’t atop his game against Paulo Thiago, the match makers in UFC are either really confident that Diego Sanchez can hold his own against Thiago, or else they’re using Sanchez as a way to measure how good Paulo is.  I’ll go with a slight instinct and predict that Diego is back on track.

Prediction: Diego Sanchez

* Welterweight bout:
United States – Jake Shields vs. Denmark – Martin Kampmann

If you haven’t been watching STRIKEFORCE, then you don’t know just how good their former champion Jake Shields is.  In the past 10 years, Jake Shields has only lost three fights, and all of them were by decision – none of them coming in the past 5 years.  He took apart Dan Henderson when the Olympian made his Strikeforce debut, and the only reason he’s not still there is because STRIKEFORCE knew his contract would be too expensive to resign him after his deal had ended.  No disrespect to Kampmann at all, as he’s a high quality fighter who should put up a good fight at UFC 121, but this fight has Shields written all over it.

Prediction: Jake Shields

* Heavyweight Championship bout:
United States – Brock Lesnar (c) vs United States – Cain Velasquez

This is the main reason most people are wanting to watch UFC 121, and I don’t think viewers are going to be disappointed, as this fight will likely be better than what you saw between Lesnar and Carwin not long ago.  I don’t believe Lesnar is going to be able to use his strategy from the second Mir fight where he took Frank down, trapped him and just pounded the hell out of him with his sledgehammer fists.  Cain Velasquez is a much better wrestler than that and would avoid being placed into that position.  Brock also won’t be able to count on Cain getting gassed in the second round like what happened in the fight with Carwin, as Velasquez has two fights on his resume which went into the second round and a third fight which went the entire distance (a unanimous decision victory against Cheick Kongo.

Part of me really wants to pick Cain Velasquez.  I think Brock Lesnar was fortunate to get a win against Carwin back in July, locking in an amateur-looking submission hold against a guy who had never been pushed to the second round before.  Still, Cain’s biggest weapon is his knockout power, and I’m not convinced he’s going to be able to knock Brock out.  People say that the speed advantage Velasquez will hold in this fight might make a difference, but Brock is so explosive with his quickness that I don’t think speed will be a factor.

I think this fight is going to show just how good Brock’s wrestling skills are, something he hasn’t had to rely much on during his first few fights.  Cain Velasquez is accomplished in NCAA wrestling, but he never finished better than 4th in a given year.  Lesnar is a two-time NCAA champion.  While I think their skills will look almost similar, I believe Brock’s ability to throw some hard strikes while grappling on the mat will prove the difference.  Following this fight, Brock Lesnar will seem like a better all-around competitor than he did before it.  Don’t be surprised if Cain Velasquez gets the win, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Prediction: Brock Lesnar